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    Household formation, inheritance and class-formation in nineteenth century Ireland: evidence from County Fermanagh

    Gray, Jane (2012) Household formation, inheritance and class-formation in nineteenth century Ireland: evidence from County Fermanagh. In: Inheritance Practices, Marriage Strategies and Household Formation in European Rural Societies. BREPOLS, pp. 153-180. ISBN 9782503543956

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    At the beginning of the 20th century, Irish social structure was dominated by a class of small landholders. Average farm size was 38.9 acres in 1911 compared to 35.7 in 1861. Just over half of all landholdings were between 5 and 30 acres in size, a proportion that had changed little since the middle of the previous century (Turner 1996: 86 and 89, Tables 3.8 and 3.9). The distinctive ‘stem family’ pattern of marriage and inheritance, supposed to have been practiced by this smallholding class, acquired an iconic status through its representation in the classic ethnographic study carried out by Arensberg and Kimball (2001 [1940]) in the 1930s.1 But the small farm households observed by the anthropologists resulted from an extended process of simplification of the rural social structure since before the Great Famine of 1845-1850. Since the pioneering work of K.H. Connell (1950), this social transformation has been conceived as a rupture in Irish patterns of household formation: from early marriage and partible inheritance within a simple family system before the Famine, to late marriage and impartible inheritance within a stem family system in its aftermath.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This is the preprint version of the chapter.
    Keywords: Household formation; inheritance; class-formation; nineteenth century; Ireland; County Fermanagh;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 9012
    Depositing User: Jane Gray
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 17:27
    Publisher: BREPOLS
    Refereed: No
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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